HARRISBURG—State Senator John DiSanto (Dauphin/Perry) has introduced legislation to require the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its agencies to pay municipal stormwater assessments just like any other local property owner.
Because of mandates in the Federal Clean Water Pollution Prevention and Control Act, municipal water and sewer authorities throughout a large part of Pennsylvania have been required to implement expensive stormwater management plans in recent years and pass the resulting costs to local property owners.
However, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where it has facilities in locations in which municipal authorities are assessing a stormwater management fee, has been refusing to pay its fair share of the burden. Capital Region Water, in DiSanto’s district, informed a senate committee in January of this year that the Commonwealth owes them $387,000 annually in fees assessed on state-owned properties beginning October 2020. The Hampden Sewer Authority in Cumberland County testified they are owed more than $1.2 million since October 2015.
The Commonwealth argues these stormwater assessments are a local tax against which state agencies are immune and is currently defending this position in court. Regardless of the ruling, Senate Bill 1360 would provide specific authorization for municipal authorities to assess stormwater fees at reasonable and uniform rates against the Commonwealth and its instrumentalities, as well as allow appropriate exemptions or credits for state property with its own Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit.
“I’ve heard from many constituents complaining about municipal stormwater fees, which are the result of federal and state mandates, and it adds insult to injury when the Commonwealth itself won’t pay its fair share,” said DiSanto. “All public and private landowners, including businesses, churches, and even the federal government, are paying these local stormwater fees, with only the Commonwealth refusing to participate. This is hypocritical, and I’m going to fight to change this wrong-headed policy.”
Senate Bill 1360 has been referred to the Senate Local Government Committee.
CONTACT: Chuck Erdman 717-787-6801 firstname.lastname@example.org